Religion Summary and Questions

Religion Summary and Questions - Religion Summary and...

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Religion Summary and Questions / Definitions 1. Religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices about sacred things. From his studies of Australian aborigines, Emile Durkheim concluded that every religion distinguishes between the sacred and the profane. 2. Because religion involves a set of meanings attached to a world beyond human observation, sociologists who study it scientifically face some unique problems. They do not evaluate the validity of various religions, leaving theological issues to theologians and philosophers. 3. Religion is found in nearly all societies. Its importance is due in part to the functions it serves. Religion legitimates the structure of society, promotes social unity, and provides a sense of meaning and belonging. 4. Writing from the conflict perspective, Karl Marx contended that religion is used by the elite to justify and maintain their power, and it is used by the oppressed to soothe their misery and maintain hope for improvement. Religion, in his view, is opiate of the masses. 5. According to conflict interpretation, religion retards social change because those in power wish to maintain the status quo. Max Weber, on the other hand, believed that religion could promote social change. He attempted to promote this idea by connecting the protestant ethic with the rise of capitalism. The protestant ethic emphasizes hard work and reinvestment for profit, characteristics that were highly compatible with the needs of emerging capitalism. 6. Most of the world’s major religions suppress women. Starting in the early 1980’s, feminists have challenged the male patriarchal characteristic of Christian religious organizations. 7. Two of the most important components of religion are religious organization and religiosity. The major form of religious organizations or churches, denominations, sects, and cults. The ways people express their religious interests and convictions (religiosity) can be analyzed in relation to five dimensions: belief, ritual, intellectual, experience, and
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Religion Summary and Questions - Religion Summary and...

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